After a devastating debut, Antonio Rogerio "Minotouro" Nogueira wants to continue being successful in the UFC. The fighter is almost recovered from a foot injury that forced him to postpone a fight against Brandon Vera, and already is training hard for his return, that will happen in the first semester. In an interview to OTM, "Minotouro" talked about the injury, his plans for the future and examined two of his teammates.
How was this foot injury?
I was training wrestling, in July last year, my training partner tried a supplex, my foot turned badly and injured the ligaments. As I had a fight scheduled in Bitetti Combat, kept training, but I should have stopped the train and recover. The fight in Bitetti Combat was canceled, but soon came the fight in the UFC, so I had to continue and didn’t stop since then. It made me a few months with 50% of my capacity. After the fight with “Banha”, I returned to train hard and my foot swelled more, so I had to go to the doctor, and had to stay one month without training.
Already have an estimate of return?
Now my foot is better and I await the call of the UFC. Once the foot is fine, I report to the UFC and I hope to return soon, God willing, ‘cause I want to fight three or four times this year as I've always been accustomed to do. When I'm in this rhythm, I feel more motivated to train. Of course not fight in the sacrifice, I want to return 100%. The level is very high and we can not let anything interfere in a high-performance sport. God willing, I hope to make enough fights and always present very well.
You expected a debut as good as the fight against Luiz Arthur Cane?
As always said, Cane is a great athlete, always been a fan of him. Before fight with him, I always watched his struggles, I always thought him very good. He is a guy who I always keep an eye on him. He was a tough opponent; a guy who if still training hard has it all to continue doing a good campaign in the UFC. The seriousness with which I faced the training made me reach a result as good as that.
Your brother will face Cain Velasquez at UFC 110. What do you expect of this fight?
It's a tough fight. Velasquez is a new guy, who is emerging as one of the best heavyweight. Kind of fighter we have to pay much attention, study well his game, because he’s a very tactical guy. He is a guy who will face a tough opponent, which is Rodrigo, and will want to take the fight in the tactics. But Rodrigo is better, more experienced, with a better ground game, best boxing, which has faced many tough guys and bear punishment. Rodrigo’s experience will count a lot in this fight.
And how you see the success of his teammate, Junior "Cigano" dos Santos, among the heavyweights?
Cigano is a very nice guy who always helps me, he’s my number one sparring. We help each other a lot. He is a humble guy, always willing to learn. In martial arts, even if you think you know much, you always have something to learn every fight. Cigano is rising, already have a high level among the heavyweights, and this is all a result of Luiz Dorea´s work, which is a guy who always did great in boxing and is now doing the same in MMA. He is doing an excellent job. Cigano is reaping the fruits of this great work, like me, my brother and all our staff; we are all reaping the rewards.